Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happiness is a full pantry

I'm sitting here looking to the north out my window waiting for the impending freezing rain/sleet/ice/snow storm. I can't see it but the weather people tell me it is coming and I'd better be prepared. I made the decision a few minutes ago to let my daughter sleep and not take her to school. I don't want to go get her in the ice!

As I was running my errands yesterday, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things I thought we might need if the family gets to spend several powerless days together. The stores were a madhouse with people packing the carts with everything under the sun. I always have to smile a little smile when I witness this each year when the weather men stike fear in our little Okie hearts that we will be getting ice! Apparently, the majority of people in Oklahoma don't have enough food in their house to get them through the three days that we might be stranded. I also chuckled when I saw the food choices in those carts.

You see, in Oklahoma, we get a lot of ice instead of fluffy, white snow. Ice and freezing rain sticks to trees and looks like glistening diamond forests when the sun hits them. But, ice and freezing rain also sticks to power lines and makes the glistening tree limbs plummet to their deaths which usually takes out some important line carrying electricity. No electricity means no tv, no electric heat, no electric hot water, no electric stoves...well, you get the point. Every other year or so, the residents of Oklahoma endure an ICE STORM OF EPIC PROPORTION!!!!

At least that's what the weather people tell us. Our little house on the hill has a woodstove that not only keeps us warm, I can use to cook on. The kids think it is extremely fun to eat soup that was cooked on the stove. I've even baked bisquits on the grill outside! My son spent part of his day yesterday hauling wood from the pile onto our covered porch. We are prepared!

When I looked into those shopping carts, yes I'm a bit nosy, I saw things like frozen pizza, microwave meals and chips. Ok, so the chips can be eaten without power but the pizza and microwave meals? What are these people thinking?

I thought back to a hundred years ago, to those pioneers who settled this wild land. Yesterday, it was 60 degrees yet I was running around preparing for a snow and ice storm. I knew that today would be different, I would watch the radar and see that hot pink color creeping ever closer to my little house on the hill. Yet those pioneers were actually more prepared than any of us today. They had to be to simply survive the winter. We have so much to learn from those early pioneers.

One thing a pioneer woman needed was a fully stocked pantry. In order for her family to survive a winter without a grocery store a mile away, she needed to prepare in advance. Our pantries don't need to get us through long winter months but it should be able to get us through at least a week don't you think?

A well stocked pantry not only will get us through a snow/ice storm for a few days, it will also get us through a sickness, a 'what's for dinner' night, or a hit on the income. My pantry could easily feed my family for several weeks with careful planning. It might not be gourmet meal eating but it would cover a rough patch if needed. It gives me a peace knowing that if something terrible happened, I could at least provide something to put in our bodies.

A well stocked pantry not only gives me peace of mind, it also saves me money. Planning my purchases in advance allows me to wait for sales and use coupons to refill what has been used. Many of the things in my pantry cost next to nothing. It also allows me to meal plan in advance instead of waiting until I get to the grocery store. When I use something in the pantry, it goes on a list. That item is then purchased when I find it on special.

I challenge you to look into your pantry today. If you can't come up with at least five meals that you could make to feed your family, get planning!


  1. I've been to the store 3 times in 3 days, and I still forgot something this morning, even with a list! I noticed the same thing about people piling their carts full with junk.

    I've got some chicken strips in the freezer. What can I do to make them interesting? What veggies would you fix with them, besides green beans and corn? Thanks!

  2. If your family likes buffalo chicken wings, I'd bake them and then drizzle them with wing sauce. My family likes buffalo chicken salad. If your family doesn't like buffalo chicken, use barbeque sauce.

    I take my cooked chicken and slice it into bites, add lettuce, tomato, whatever you like on a salad
    1 can of drained and rinsed beans, like black, kidney, whatever you have on hand

    place warm chicken on the salad greens and beans, add some shredded cheddar cheese and you've got yourself a meal!
    I serve it with ranch or blue cheese dressing and that last little bit of tortilla chips that are all smashed up at croutons. If your serving bbq, mix a little of the bbq sauce into the ranch dressing to make the dressing different.

    Or, maked mashed potatoes and white gravy for a fried chicken meal. I usually serve a salad or cooked carrots. I like a variety of color on the plate.
    Hope this helps!